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New York Mets: The Team's 10 Worst Trades Ever

Jocelyn TaubCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2011

New York Mets: The Team's 10 Worst Trades Ever

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    With the Mets pretty much allowing Jose Reyes to walk away from the only Major League organization that he had played for, it got me thinking about how many bad moves the Mets have made over the years.

    Whether through trades or free agency, the Mets have had a history of making mistakes when it comes to importing and exporting talent.

    The list of terrible free agent signings includes Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Kaz Matsui and the mother of all bad deals, Bobby Bonilla.

    While he still has time to prove that his name doesn't belong on this list, recent free agent signing Jason Bay is looking likely to join the rest in Mets infamy.

    As for trades, there have been some awful deals made over the last 50 years. To be fair the organization has acquired stars such as Mike Piazza and Keith Hernandez through trades. For this list, however, we'll go through the top 10 worst trades in chronological order.

Amos Otis and Bob Johnson for Joe Foy

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    Amos Otis was an up-and-coming shortstop with the Mets in the late 1960's. He began the 1969 season on the Major League roster but became expendable when he clashed with then manager Gil Hodges. 

    On Dec. 3, 1969, the Mets sent Otis and rookie pitcher Bob Johnson to Kansas City in exchange for third baseman Joe Foy.

    In his one disappointing season with the Mets, Foy batted .236 with just six home runs and 37 RBI. He was released by the Washington Senators midway through the 1971 season and never played a professional game again.

    While Johnson compiled a 28-34 career record with five teams over seven seasons, Otis became an All-Star centerfielder for the Royals. In 17 seasons he appeared in five All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove awards. He ended his career in 1984 with a .277 batting average, 193 home runs, 1,007 RBI and 341 stolen bases.

Nolan Ryan, Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada & Don Rose for Jim Fregosi

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    Hands down the worst trade ever in Mets history.

    Nolan Ryan put up impressive numbers early in his career with the Mets and played a part in the Miracle Mets championship of 1969.

    A Texan from birth, Ryan never felt settled in New York and asked for a trade. On Dec. 10, 1971, he was sent to the California Angels along with Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada and Don Rose for Jim Fregosi.

    Fregosi had been a six-time All-Star so the Mets thought they were getting value in return. Unfortunately, Fregosi was a bust in New York batting a measly .232 and hitting just five home runs. After two seasons, he was sent to Texas.

    Right-fielder Stanton compiled a career batting average of .244, catcher Estrada appeared in just one Major League game going 1-for-2 and Rose pitched in just 19 games over three seasons and was out of baseball by 1974.

    Meanwhile, Ryan spent 27 seasons in the Majors putting up incredible numbers. He finished his career with 324 wins, 5,714 strikeouts and a record seven no-hitters. He was an eight-time all-star and was inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton for Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin

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    Rusty Staub's first stint with the Mets came to an end on Dec. 12, 1975 when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers along with pitcher Bill Laxton in return for Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin.

    Staub was a major part of the 1973 team that defied the odds and won the National League Championship. In the NLCS versus Cincinnati, Staub hit three homers, drove in five runs and made a game-saving catch off the outfield wall in the 11th inning of Game 4. He went on to bat .423 in the Mets' World Series loss to Oakland in seven games.

    In 1975, Staub set a new Mets RBI record driving in 105 runs while belting 19 home runs and batting .282.

    After the trade, Staub continued to produce. In three seasons with the Tigers, Staub hit 70 home runs and had 318 RBI. He was also voted in as a starter to the 1976 All-Star team.

    Staub spent 12 more seasons in baseball and returned to the Mets for the last five years of his career.

    While Mickey Lolich had been a successful pitcher with the Tigers for 13 seasons, by the time the Mets acquired him he was running out of gas. Lolich spent just one season with the Mets going 8-13.

Tom Seaver for Doug Flynn, Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman

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    Tom Seaver was the New York Mets' first legitimate star. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1967 and won the Cy Young Award on three occasions. He was also voted to the All-Star Game 12 times over the course of his career.

    Seaver's clash with Mets Chairman of the Board M. Donald Grant ended with Seaver being traded to the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, 1977 in exchange for Doug Flynn, Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.

    Despite being a four-for-one trade, the Mets ended up on the short side of the deal.

    Light hitting infielder Flynn hit .237 in his first season with the Mets and made little impact on the team.

    Starting pitcher Zachry went 41-46 over six unimpressive seasons with the Mets.

    Henderson spent four years patrolling left field for the Mets while putting up some respectable statistics, including 55 stolen bases.

    Norman was a career pinch hitter who played five seasons and retired with a .227 career batting average.

    Seaver went on to win 311 games and was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell and Tom Edens for Juan Samuel

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    Lenny Dykstra was one of the most popular Mets players of the '80s. He was an integral part of the 1986 World Championship team and will always be remembered for his walk-off home run in Game 3 of the NLCS versus the Astros.

    Nicknamed "Nails," Dykstra was a spark plug for the Mets and could always be relied on for his hustle and gritty determination.

    Roger McDowell was a solid reliever for the Mets and was an important part of the '86 team with 22 saves and a 3.02 ERA. McDowell was well liked by teammates and fans and was known as the team's resident prankster.

    On June 18, 1989 the Mets sent Dykstra, McDowell and little used pitcher Tom Edens to the Phillies in return for second baseman Juan Samuel.

    Samuel was named Rookie of the Year in 1984 and had put up decent numbers during seven seasons in Philadelphia.

    Unfortunately for the Mets, Samuel played just 86 games for the club hitting a measly .228.

    Meanwhile Dykstra spent eight productive seasons with the Phillies batting over .300 three times.

    McDowell pitched in the majors for another eight seasons and finished his career with 159 saves and a 3.03 ERA.

Jeff Kent and José Vizcaino for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza

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    Jeff Kent put up great numbers for a second basemen during his time with the Mets. Despite this, Kent was known as a divisive figure in the clubhouse and he became expendable.

    On July 29, 1996 the Mets sent Kent and infielder Jose Vizcaino to the Cleveland Indians in return for second baseman Carlos Baerga and shortstop Alvaro Espinoza.

    Baerga put up decent numbers in his two full seasons in Queens but never achieved the same level of success that he had had in Cleveland.

    Espinoza appeared in just 48 games for the Mets and retired the following season.

    Meanwhile, Vizcaino played another ten seasons and was a part of the Yankees team that defeated the Mets in the 2000 World Series.

    Kent never lost his attitude problem but he went on to have an amazing career that spanned 16 years. He was a five time All-Star, winner of the Silver Slugger Award four times and was named National League MVP in 2000. Kent retired with a lifetime batting average of .290, 2,461 hits, 377 home runs and 1,518 RBI.

Bobby Jones, Jason Bay and Josh Reynolds for Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reed

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    Jason Bay was traded by the Mets along with pitchers Bobby Jones and Josh Reynolds on July 31, 2002. Bay had yet to appear in a Major League game. 

    Reynolds never made it to the majors and Jones compiled a career ERA of 5.77 during six seasons. Bay, however, became a power hitter for the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Bay was voted the 2004 Rookie of the Year while hitting .282, smacking 26 homers and driving in 82 runs. The next season he was even better. His average was .306 with 32 home runs and 101 RBI.

    Bay continued to put up impressive numbers over the next four years and made three All-Star Game appearances.*

    Back in New York, Middlebrook appeared in just eight games for the Mets and was out of baseball one year later with with a career total of four wins, four losses and a 5.33 ERA. 

    Reed spent just one season with the Mets before moving on to Colorado and Baltimore. He retired from baseball in 2005.

    *In typical Mets fashion, after the team traded Bay he put up great numbers. Since bringing him back to the club as a free-agent in 2010, Bay has been a total bust.

Scott Kazmir and Joselo Diaz for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato

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    Here's one is still fresh in the minds of many Mets die-hards.

    Scott Kazmir was considered the top pitching prospect in the entire Mets organization. So what did the Mets do? They sent him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in a mid season trade on July 30, 2004.

    Along with Kazmir, the deal included pitcher Joselo Diaz, and in return, the Mets received pitchers Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.

    The outcry from Mets fans was immediate, and General Manager Jim Duquette bore the brunt of the anger.

    Zambrano was downright awful for the Mets, and the misery only ended when Zambrano tore a tendon in his pitching elbow early in the 2006 season. He never pitched another game for the Mets.

    Fortunato made just 17 pitching appearances in a Mets uniform and missed the entire 2005 season with a herniated disc.

    While Diaz made only five Major League appearances, Kazmir became a star in Tampa Bay. He was selected for the 2006 and 2008 All-Star Games and led the American League in strikeouts in 2007 with 239.

    Unfortunately, Kazmir has suffered from a string of injuries since the 2008 season and was released by the Angels last summer with $14.5 million still owed to him. 

Xavier Nady for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez

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    This trade has haunted Mets fans for the past five years, and it was all due to a midnight craving for Dominican food.

    In late July 2006, the Mets were in Miami for a series with the Marlins. Successful reliever Duaner Sanchez had a craving for Dominican food following a game and decided to take a taxi ride to go in search of a restaurant. The taxi was involved in an accident which left Sanchez with a separated shoulder that would have him out for the rest of the year.

    As it occurred right before the trading deadline, the Mets decided that it was necessary to replace Sanchez in the bullpen. On July 31, 2006 they sent newly acquired outfielder Xavier Nady to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for 41-year-old reliever Roberto Hernandez and lefty starter Oliver Perez.

    While Nady was a good player and had put up good numbers in his half season with the Mets, this trade was disastrous more for who the Mets received than gave up.

    To be fair, Hernandez was decent and went 8-6 with 4 saves and a 2.58 ERA in the Mets division winning season.

    Perez was a young lefty with a tendency to be wild and inconsistent. He performed well enough in the 2006 postseason to become a part of the Mets' starting rotation the following year. He put up decent numbers in 2007 but started to show signs of what was to come in 2008 when he led the league in walks with 105.

    For whatever reason, the Mets rewarded Perez with a three-year $36 million contract, and he has been a plague on the club ever since. Injuries, a refusal to go down to the minors and terrible form are all the Mets received for their investment.

    In 2010 Perez went 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA. He was released by the Mets in early 2011 with $12 million still owed to him by the club.

    As for Sanchez, the once-feared reliever never regained his form. Last season he was pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League.


Heath Bell and Royce Ring for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson

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    This last trade will torture the Mets even more this coming season.

    Heath Bell began his career as a member of the Mets. Between 2004 and 2006 Bell was shuttled back and forth from the Mets to the minor leagues. It was evident that the organization did not think highly of him.

    On Nov. 15, 2006, the Mets traded Bell along with Royce Ring to the San Diego Padres in return for outfielder Ben Johnson and pitcher Jon Adkins.

    Ring has had trouble sticking with a club while both Jonson and Adkins are out of Major League Baseball.

    Meanwhile, Bell has become one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball. In five years with the Padres, Bell tallied 134 saves with 389 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA. He is a three-time All-Star, won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award twice, the DHL Delivery Man of the Year Award once and was named The Sporting News National League Reliever of the Year in 2010.

    Bell will now be able to torment the Mets on a regular basis as he recently signed a three-year $27 million free agent contract with division rivals the Miami Marlins.

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